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Old 12-16-2018, 12:21 AM   #961
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I think it's helping Okada's reign stand out as special. If Omega continues to work with New Japan, I can see him winning it back from Tanahashi down the line.
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:04 AM   #962
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:06 PM   #963
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I am not an Ospreay fan by any stretch, but I will admit that is cool. Mostly the reaction.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:02 PM   #964
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Not surprising, but Tanahashi has signed a new deal with New Japan.
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:30 AM   #965
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That tag team match was insane!!
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:54 PM   #966
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Feels like NJPW isn’t carrying the same buzz into this Wrestle Kingdom as they did last year.
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:11 PM   #967
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I'd agree with that, and I can understand why it happened. I think Jericho vs. Omega was a complete dream match in the eyes of many within the IWC. Couple that with Naito becoming popular and everyone thinking he'd go over Okada and those two matches alone generated a huge buzz.

Now a year later, Jericho's still there, no longer a new face in the picture. Can't call Jericho/Naito a dream match when it already happened in June, and Naito himself has been cooled a bit by still never getting his crowning moment.

And in the main, Omega/Tana should be a great match but it just doesn't have the steam Okada/Naito had. They've also kinda booked themselves into a corner. If Tana wins, it means Omega's title run will have ended having lacked any real big moment, he peaked upon winning the title. If Omega wins, that means that yet again the G1 winner has failed to win the title.

Also in consideration - is Kenny leaving or not? I don't think we'll know until the end of January. Also, would Gedo even be willing to have a gaijin win in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom?
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Old 12-29-2018, 08:07 PM   #968
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I think most of it is down to repetition, the three big matches feature the same six guys, (the big four + Jericho and Jay White) but this time the pairings are less exciting. Omega only just showing up to start building the main event in the last few shows leading Tanahashi to help build up Okada's match instead of his own. Jericho is also never there so can't really have hot feuds, it's all surprise factor with him but he's been doing the same schtick all year when he shows up once and attacks somebody and that's it.

Then there's Cody taking up a singles title match spot again despite never being around and wont be going forward, Young Bucks in the tag title match but they are never around and wont be going forward, SANADA and EVIL still stuck in the tag scene wrestling GOD again, Jr Tag being a rematch from Power Struggle.

Ibushi / Ospreay suffered from the injury and the plan B to get there isn't as compelling as the Plan A was going to be. That pretty much leaves Okada / White as the only match that's got a hot build, so it's unfortunate White is not quite there yet to make the most of it. Also, no Hiromu.

Still really looking forward to it though.
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:16 PM   #969
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Eh, I think the overall vibe is generally better. It feels like the company is always gaining steam, albeit slowly. I think ticket sales and business projections are generally higher too. It'll be interesting to see if that continues or whether they are due for a drop-off.
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Old 12-30-2018, 02:30 AM   #970
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultra Mantis View Post
Then there's Cody taking up a singles title match spot again despite never being around and wont be going forward, Young Bucks in the tag title match but they are never around and wont be going forward, SANADA and EVIL still stuck in the tag scene wrestling GOD again, Jr Tag being a rematch from Power Struggle.
In general, while I trust Gedo with booking long-term story arcs with the top singles stars - I feel like it becomes his sole focus and he subsequently goes into autopilot with the rest of the divisions.

The Junior Tag League wound up being completely pointless. The World Tag League didn't have much intrigue because EVIL and SANADA were obviously winning as they weren't going to be left off of WK. And the singles junior division, while hampered by the Hirmou injury, just feels like it's "there".
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:03 PM   #971
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conspiracy Victim Vito View Post
In general, while I trust Gedo with booking long-term story arcs with the top singles stars - I feel like it becomes his sole focus and he subsequently goes into autopilot with the rest of the divisions.

The Junior Tag League wound up being completely pointless. The World Tag League didn't have much intrigue because EVIL and SANADA were obviously winning as they weren't going to be left off of WK. And the singles junior division, while hampered by the Hirmou injury, just feels like it's "there".
In theory, I don't mind this. Your main drawing cards should feel more like an arc, whereas the others can be more frivolous for emphasis. From my understanding, the Junior Tag League was won by Sho and Yoh to give them a babyface push, but Shingo and whoever his partner is have just kind of edged in? It's a decent heel tactic to create champions for the babyfaces to eventually beat. It's a neat trick, so I wouldn't say it's "meaningless." Putting EVIL and Sanada in position to challenge for the main tag belts makes sense.

I guess I agree with the gist of what you're saying, but I don't think it's a bad thing. It's kind of foundational pro-wrestling.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:54 PM   #972
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Shingo and Bushi are also babyface and objectively more popular than SHO and YOH. The WK Jr Tag match is actually the exact same match they had as the Jr World Tag League final, making SHO and YOH's win there seem kind of pointless.

EVIL and SANADA won Tag League and won the titles at WK last year too, then they got fed to the Young Bucks and were given a slight push as singles guys, EVIL had a much higher profile sustained push feuding with Jericho and Zack Sabre Jr, while SANADA got a world title shot early in the year, tweaked his gimmick so he now actually talks occasionally (meaning he can win a singles main event and do the end of show promo) and then remained super over despite not really being given anything else to do.

Business is very much still in a growth period though and shows are drawing more than ever, certain pockets of the internet might claim it's a "worse product" but it's definitely not. The matches themselves will be solid, worst match on the card is Cody vs Juice Robinson and that wont necessarily be bad.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:04 PM   #973
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There's only so many spaces at the tippy-top. You've got Tanahashi, Okada, Omega, Naito and Jericho. After that you've got Goto and Suzuki while you're trying to put some focus on Ibushi, Ishii, ZSJ and Ospreay. It's hard to give someone like EVIL or Sanada something more important to do than they actually are.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:19 AM   #974
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They need to make Sanada important. Dude is money.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:26 AM   #975
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Seriously, SANADA is so over with the audience he should definitely be ahead of Goto, Suzuki, Ishii and ZSJ, while Ospreay is still a Jr. That's not a slight on any of those guys either.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:28 AM   #976
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He absolutely should not be ahead of Suzuki and Ishii...
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:44 AM   #977
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I love both of those guys, but Suzuki is 50 and Ishii is 43. SANADA is only 30.

I realize that age isn’t a huge deal in puro, but still. SANADA has a really long career still ahead of him.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:31 AM   #978
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But he's still behind those guys in the pecking order. ZSJ is ahead of him too.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:19 AM   #979
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Suzuki and Ishii are both brilliant but they aren't going to go any higher up the card at this point in their careers. Same with Goto. Loads more potential in SANADA.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:25 AM   #980
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Ishii is only 25 in Stone Pitbull years
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:03 PM   #981
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When Suzuki was murdering Tanahashi and winning the IC Title last year, I never expected that by Wrestle Kingdom he'd end up in the pre-show gauntlet. But I really think it's all by design to have Sabre usurp him.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:42 PM   #982
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conspiracy Victim Vito View Post
When Suzuki was murdering Tanahashi and winning the IC Title last year, I never expected that by Wrestle Kingdom he'd end up in the pre-show gauntlet. But I really think it's all by design to have Sabre usurp him.
I was honestly hoping he'd get the Main Title for the farewell run.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:20 PM   #983
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I think Suzuki and KES are going to win the gauntlet and the six-man belts.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:22 PM   #984
Conspiracy Victim Vito
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Very possible, although admittedly the 6-Man belts are completely useless.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:36 PM   #985
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Oh yeah, no doubt.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:37 AM   #986
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"Tanahashi wrapped his knee a used a cortisone shot!"
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:50 AM   #987
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The more I think about it the more I don't understand why they have Cody vs. Juice Robinson on the main show and Minoru Suzuki is on the pre-show. Could easily do Cody vs. Suzuki or a 3 way with them. Suzuki-gun has more than enough people to replace Minoru in the gauntlet. I mean there's only so many spots on the card, but with the reactions this guy gets I don't understand how he doesn't have one of those spots.
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:53 AM   #988
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Anyone could win the gauntlet really, but supposing the 6 man tag is happening at New Years Dash I could see Makabe / Yano / Taguchi or CHAOS taking it and something happening there. The Elite guys are possible but their future is up in the air. Suzuki's team (along with Cobb / Finlay / formerly Elgin) are all going in pissed at Chuck Taylor for his chair shot antics and that seems to be leading somewhere. They were specifically teasing Suzuki wanting to murder Chuck.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:01 AM   #989
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The Cody / Juice singles seems to be a redemption thing since Cody debuted at WK and easily beat Juice. It makes sense, but meh.

Suzuki's fall down the card could be totally by design, Taichi has shown insubordination ever since he moved up to Heavy, He's especially pissed off that he keeps getting left off the big shows.

After the Taichi / ZSJ vs Suzuki / Iizuka match in Tag League, ZSJ said that he has his eyes on the throne and Suzuki's time is nearly up. This time next year we could be seeing Zack vs Suzuki as a marquee WK match,
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:08 PM   #990
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That Kenny’s Quest thing is amazing.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:25 PM   #991
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I knew he was in his 50s but didn't realize that Takashi Iizuka was a lifer who has been with the company for 33 years. That's insane. And he still looks absolutely terrifying.

Having said that, he's been Suzuki-gun's designated fall guy for the two years I've been watching New Japan so I can see why he's ready to call it a career. Will miss seeing him run around the arena.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:11 PM   #992
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I was sat right next to the aisle where Iizuka walked past in SSE:UK, he looked like he was having the time of his life doing that gimmick. Dude is also in much better shape than he looks on TV.

Hilarious spot too where he bit Gedo and everyone boo'd, Yano made the save and got bit, everyone boo'd, YOSHI-HASHI then makes the save and gets bit and the crowd popped huge. Iizuka was laughing his ass off.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:46 PM   #993
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Iizuka reinvented himself so many times, too - he was a great technical, even shoot style worker, and even had a match in WCW teaming with Tatsumi Fujinami against the Steiners in '92, reinvented himself as a hardcore worker in the mid-00s, and then more recently as a kind of pastiche of that gimmick as part of Suzuki-Gun. One of those wonderful midcard mainstay type careers; never set the world alight, but a real reliable hand.

That he's held the tag titles with Riki Choshu and with Toru Yano is wonderful.
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